THE traffic gridlock perfect storm of A55 Llanddulas roadworks and the closure of Old Colwyn promenade has been laid at the door of the Welsh Government.

The A55 has been reduced to single lane contraflow working with a speed limit of 40 mph between Junction 23 at Llanddulas and the footbridge at Colwyn Bay, known locally as the Rainbow Bridge.

This is to allow essential repairs to the A55 Kneeshaw Lupton under bridge eastbound carriageway. The work started on Sunday September 8 and was scheduled to last for five weeks. This has caused an increase in traffic in Old Colwyn as motorists seek to bypass holdups on the A55 using rat runs.

In addition, even more traffic was forced onto the rat runs because Old Colwyn promenade has been closed off and on during the past week to accommodate Wales Rally GB, and possible flooding by high tides and anticipated bad weather.

Cllr Cheryl Carlisle, who represents Colwyn on Conwy council, said: ”The chaos caused to the residents of Old Colwyn can be laid firmly at the door of the Welsh Government.

“Conwy Council has repeatedly told the Welsh Government Wales Rally GB was coming to Old Colwyn this week, and this work should have been delayed until after the September tourism influx. The Rally brings huge economic and tourism benefits to our area, and this should have been recognised in scheduling of this work.

“The disruption to the residents and local businesses has been quite awful, with simple journeys to and from work and school has taken hours instead of minutes.

“The predicted high tides and poor weather has compounded local people's misery, with more to come. The lack of traffic management by North Wales Trunk Road has also been woeful. I just feel so sorry for all our local people that are so badly affected.”

But cllr Brain Cossey, who also represents Colwyn on Conwy council said: “We've ended up with the perfect storm closure of the prom and the roadworks on the A55. The traffic through Old Colwyn is horrendous with everything funnelled through the village. It's time some consideration was given to people who are just trying to go about their normal business.

“We definitely need to have a proper alternative route. Residents of Old Colwyn are sick and tired of the continued traffic congestion every time any work is carried out on the A55.

“The prom will be closed more often with climate change and rising sea levels. We need the Welsh Government to understand the need for new 21st century sea defences.”

Cllr Keith Eeles, who represents Llanddulas. said: I have received numerous complaints over the lack of thought over the closure of the promenade and the resultant traffic chaos which was also exacerbated by the weather.

“Drivers were faced with total gridlock when trying to circumnavigate the A55 on the surrounding A roads. Villages again were totally locked down, people missed appointments, were late picking children up from school and children missed swimming classes in the evenings.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We continue to aim to finish ahead of the scheduled end date of October 11, subject to weather conditions.

“It is vital this work is carried out at this time for the safety of motorists.

“Failure to do so could lead to further deterioration in the underbridge leading to unplanned emergency closures and severe disruption.

“The risk of not acting immediately is too high in terms of safety for the road going public.

“We have been in contact with the Wales Rally GB for some time and event organisers are fully aware of our plans, as they were last year when the works were being carried out on the opposite side of the road.

“However, we fully recognise that these essential roadworks could cause disruption during this year’s event. We would ask people travelling to the rally to check Traffic Wales for regular, up to date information on the situation and to follow the signage on the A55. There will also be an option at Halton to follow the A5. We would also appreciate patience and understanding during this current period of safety-related roadworks.

“We have also placed on embargo on any other trunk road works for the period of the Rally in the areas affected by it.”

Transport Minister Ken Skates said: “This essential work is of the upmost importance for the safety of motorists. Not carrying out this work now would have left us facing risks to human lives that are unacceptable.

“I fully sympathise with motorists frustrated by the delays caused by this vital work, but I am sure most people would agree that their lives should not be put at risk by deferring essential work on the under-bridge.

“The scheme is progressing as fast as it safely can and travellers can continue to check updates on Traffic Wales while it is ongoing.”